Going Through The Motions
Abyss returns for its ninth episode and a return to this body-swapping drama with sprinklings of romance and a tonally confused narrative that can’t quite decide what sort of show it wants to be. Given we’ve had 9 hours of drama now, Abyss feels torn between the lighthearted comedic romance and darker crime thriller tropes that make it a really difficult K-Drama to recommend. With little of Oh Young this week and a simple cat-and-mouse chase with new bad guy Seo, Abyss is a show that feels like it’s going through the motions right now.
We begin the episode with Se-Yeon caught in a dream about Cha Min. After numerous musical outbursts and humorous slow motion shots, when she wakes up she laments Cha Min’s new, revised looks. Reeling over their kiss the night before, Se Yeon looks at Cha Min dreamily while the music kicks back in again. She tells Cha she doesn’t like him and their kiss meant nothing which he brushes it off, despite secretly writing a note of the incident it in his phone’s calendar. From here, he offers Se-Yeon a lift and on the way, she tries to keep her composure.
Later on, Se-Yeon goes and sees her mum, agreeing to help her cater for a table of 20 employees at the restaurant. It’s a success and along with getting more reservations for the following night, Se-Yeon learns Cha Min orchestrated the entire thing.
Thanks to Dong spilling secrets, Prosecutor Seo catches wind of the sting operation and now knows Mi-Do faked her death. As he busies himself with moving Hee-Jin’s Mum to a secure location, he tries his best to keep everything a secret while Oh Young exerts his power in prison.
Meanwhile, the trio discuss the sting operation further, examining CCTV footage where they realize the car explosion may have been staged. They drive to the tunnel and find a passageway Seo and Hee-Jin’s mother took. With this valuable bit of information, the rest of the episode sees the cat and mouse game continue, building up to a climactic finish that sees Se-Yeon in a car with Prosecutor Seo while Cha Min and Hee-Jin find and reunite with Hee-Jins mum, who was moved to the hospital by Seo. As Cha learns the Prosecutor is the one behind the kidnapping – he frantically tries to get through to Se-Yeon with no luck where we leave the episode.
While Abyss does have some stand out moments, these feel more fleeting than they should be and completely contrast the epic chimes of music that cut in when things get dramatic. Compared to Memories Of The Alhambra, which had an excellent soundtrack, Abyss’ music just doesn’t fit the mood here. While the lighthearted comedy is, for the most part, pretty funny, it also completely takes away from the more serious elements and they don’t mesh well together. With no real antagonistic force since Oh Young has been imprisoned, Abyss is lacking the bite needed to make it a compelling drama.
Sure, there’s parts of the story that are compelling but right now the show feels like its missing the hook to really make it stand out. Hopefully things improve soon and there’s certainly room to do that but with no orb, no body-swapping and no sci-fi elements, Abyss feels lost and a shadow of the quirky, fantasy-inspired show it was when it originally aired.